VARIOUS ARTISTS: The Inmates Are Running the Asylum: CD

May 15, 2023

Subtitled “The Best of K.B.D. Punk 1978-88,” it’s pretty clear what to expect here: a collection of tracks by now-obscure (mostly North American) punk/hardcore bands, in this case Jim Jacobi & The Crap Detectors, Outpatients, Sharon Tate’s Baby, Seizure, Fred E. Boots Movement, Hates, Butch Minds The Baby, Lipstick, Agent 86, Sumpfpäpste, Black Jax, Terminals, Humidifier, Seatbelts, Rok Tots, Nihilistics, Detonators, White Flag, RF7, and Defnics. Selection-wise, this is pretty top-notch—with the exception of a small handful, I’d say the majority of what’s here hasn’t been comped to death (god, I’m fuggin’ witty, no?) elsewhere and some, like the specific version of White Flag’s “Celibate” here, I don’t think I’ve ever heard before. The varying sound quality here makes ye wonder where they got the tracks from—some sound great, some the sound is perplexingly blown out, and some seem kinda needlessly rough. (Full disclosure: I played in a later Black Jax lineup and had a copy of the demo from which the tune here originated back when it first started making the rounds. I have had subsequent cassette copies dubbed several generations over that have been straight-up abused, as well as a copy of the CD that was released in the early 2000s, and I don’t think I’ve ever heard a version of “Fooled By a Pretty Face” as needlessly rough sounding as the one here. Christ, they could’ve ripped cleaner versions—in stereo, no less!—from YouTube and gone with that.) All told, it’s a solid comp of rarities. I just wish they’d worked a little harder to get better quality rips. –Jimmy Alvarado (Just 4 Fun, just4funrecords.bigcartel.com)

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